We have a pantry in our kitchen to the right of the refrigerator. It's a tall cabinet door with pull out shelves tucked away inside, filled with cereal, tea, crackers, and granola bars.
Almost every time I walk through the kitchen, the pantry door is open. It drives me crazy.
I exhale with a growl as I shut the door and script persuasive speeches in my imagination. I think of my husband and kids sitting at the table, while I demonstrate just how simple it is to shut that door and make the kitchen look less like a messy locker room.
Inevitably, the speeches don't come to fruition, as life moves quickly from that moment into the hustle of packing school lunches or eating dinner or figuring out what snack it's appropriate to give a starving child five minutes before his bedtime.
Until, serendipitously, the perfect moment finally appeared. I prepared homemade granola bars to replace the store bought ones my kids usually eat for breakfast. Bars kept on the bottom shelf of that pantry. My husband innocently said, "We will just have to make sure to close the pantry door so the dog doesn't eat them."
This was my moment. I looked at him sitting sweetly in his chair, and pontificated all the reasons he and the kids needed to do a better job of that. I moaned about how annoyed I felt whenever I came into the room and found the door hanging open.
He replied, "It's you who does it."
What!?! How dare he! Before I could launch into a perfectly crafted diatribe about my innocence, he just told me to turn around.
I did, and saw the pantry door, which I had left open after putting the granola bars away.
As embarrassed as I felt, I was also certain it was a fluke.
Until he gently pointed it out to me again at lunch, and then at dinner, and the next day, and...
It was me! It was me all along!
I thought about all the time and energy I had wasted feeling annoyed, getting frustrated, and planning my speeches, when all along, the only thing I needed to focus on was shutting the pantry door.
It's obvious, but still worth saying because sometimes we think we are alone in our feelings: life can be stressful.
I wonder how much of that stress is brought on by our own thoughts. We spin things around and around in our minds and get consumed with judgment about the actions of others and plan all the things we will do and say when we finally get the chance.
Sometimes we just need to shut the pantry door, take a breath, and get on with making breakfast.
Grace, my friends. For you, for me, for all of us.